Co-founder of Pink Floyd, Richard William Wright passed away today September 15th 2008 at his home after a short battle with cancer, at the age of 65.
Soft-spoken and personable, he never achieved quite as high a profile as the other members of Pink Floyd – themselves generally private individuals, yet his contributions on a musical level were far more profound than many might be aware due to the fashion in which songwriting credits were distributed on the later, iconic albums; from the very beginning of Floyd, Wright’s organ was every bit as integral as Syd Barrett’s unique compositional style to the development of “The Pink Floyd Sound.” Vocally, he provided the perfect harmony and counterpoint to David Gilmour’s melodies throughout Floyd’s extremely experimental era following Syd’s departure, ultimately helping to forge their new musical identity as the world’s foremost space rock entity. Later, embracing new technological developments along with the rest of the band, Wright sculpted lush and beautiful symphonic layers with his banks of synthesizers and sound modules, demonstrating a deeply emotional harmonic sense characterized by taste, restraint, and musicality – never self-indulgent, always contributing to the whole.
Despite having been asked to leave Pink Floyd during the recording of The Wall, he not only completed his contributions to the massive epic, but also insisted upon completing the entire tour done in support of it – a great testament to his character. Having all but retired from the music industry by the time of 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, he gradually resumed his role as a primary contributor to Floyd by 1994’s The Division Bell – his vocals, organ, and songwriting helping to yield an album as distinctly Floyd as Meddle or Dark Side Of The Moon.
Most recently, he’d performed on David Gilmour’s very successful 2006 solo album On An Island as well as the subsequent tour – in the bonus features of the Remember That Night DVD, Wright elaborates on how it was the most enjoyable tour he’d ever participated in. After all of the turmoil towards the end of the Roger Waters-led era, I’d like to think of this as some kind of redemption.
On behalf of all of us at CMR, I extend our condolences to Richard Wright’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans. We know the true value of Richard’s contributions to Pink Floyd, and subsequently an entire world of music.
Richard: Your music will live on through and with all of us here now that you’ve joined the great gig in the sky…R.I.P.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)